Apr 4, 2007 6:06am
Apropos of a comment made about What's Become of the Baby.
It is well known that Jerry and Phil remixed Anthem of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa in 1972. The theory was that these two l.p.s were overindulgent. After all, the scrapped the
original tapes of Aoxomoxoa when they got their acid "drenched hands on the first 16 track. Jerry later commented that they felt obligated to use each and every track available.
I think revisionist art is a sham. The finished products in each case represented the sum of all the parts that went into them--all the tapes and studio tinkering for Anthem, and all the subtle layers of Aoxomoxoa. Stripping the former of what might have seemed pretentious doesn't save the work from the same criticisms it originally received; nor does it present and improved product. Same for Aoxomoxoa. The subtle
bits and pieces helped make that l.p0.--and Anthem--an acid lover's delight. Whoa--did you hear that? Doin' that Rag, for example, lost the puntuating chords from Baby (wha) Louise (wha)--the undercutting slide notes that gave an extra urgency and trippimess to the song. I guess Jerry felt that the new Dead was a clean Dead--the use of multitracking on American Beauty is all careful texturing of delicate instruments and voices which blend into a choir like harmony.
But Anthem and Aoxomoxoa were balls out trippy, as were the songs.
Besides, you cannot clean up and prettify a song that goes:
Waves of violet go crashing and laughing
Rainbow winged singing birds fly round the sun
Sunbells rain down in a liquid profusion
Mermaids on porpoises draw up the dawn
What's become of the baby
This cold December morning?
frozen in their flight
drifting to the earth
remnants of forgotten dreaming
answer comes there none
Go to sleep you child
Dream of never ending always
Panes of crystal
Eyes sparkle like waterfalls
lighting the polished ice caverns of Khan
But where in the looking-glass fields of illusion
wandered the child who was perfect as dawn?
What's become of the Baby
this cold December morning?
rhythms of the sun
all the world revolves
captured in the eye of Odin
Pray where are you now?
All Mohammed's men
blinded by the sparkling water
Sheherazade gathering stories to tell
from primal gold fantasy petals that fall
But where is the child
who played with the sun chimes
and chased the cloud sheep
to the regions of rhyme?
cries the south wind
Lost in the regions of lead
Shackled by chains of illusion
Delusions of living and dead
The remix goes:
Once upon a time there was a baby.
It got lost.
His parents were too stoned to notice
him crawling down the stairs
and getting into a cab.
Everyone was scared.
They posted its picture on a milk carton.
He made the cover of the Enquirer
And was featured on Nancy Grace.
"Amber alert," they cried.
"Our poor child has been snatched."
But little did they know, he just
lit out for the Haight.
What's become of the baby?
He got tired of all the drugs
and the crazy deadheads who
worshipped a sugar magnolia.
And so he took his thumb out of his mouth]
and waved it high and headed south.
What's become of the baby?
He's running for Congress soon.
Apr 4, 2007 8:23am
Re: original mixes?
Maybe even grams.
Then again, that would be foolhardy, even by those fun-filled late '60's standards
I had a first issue copy of Aoxomoxoa, albeit one that was in horrible condition, probably used as everything from a rolling tray to a frisbee. Back in the summer of '77, Dad got relocated, and we had to move from East Bay California suburbia to rural Illinois. It wasn't long before the stash ran dry, so my brother and I ventured townward in search of the kind. A small faction of unkempt longhairs was discovered loitering in the parking lot of the public library. It looked to be the best place to hook up. We introduced ourselves with an explanation of our plight, and one of them was sympathetic. A drive to the apartment where he lived with his mother resulted in about a quarter ounce of veritable ditch weed, but it was better than nothing.
I don't remember the particulars of the conversation, but as usual, I eventually manipulated it toward my favorite subject, that of a certain San Francisco-borne rock-n-roll band. To my amazement, the dude was not only familiar with them, he said he had one of their albums, called "Cosmic Charlie."
And he gave it to me. Damned generous of him, but it didn't stop there.
We were really only expecting a couple of joints, and when he produced the bag with an asking price of $10.00, we sheepishly told him that we only had $3.98 in our pockets. He thought about it, said, "That's cool," but then reconsidered, saying, "Just make it $2.98. I won't take a man's last dollar." It was sad news to me when I learned about 10 years later that he had been killed in some kind of freak industrial mishap in Texas. I listened to Cosmic Charlie that night in his memory.